A new study says that playing risk-glorifying video games like Grand Theft Auto is likely to prompt teenagers to become more reckless in driving and becoming involved in accidents and other risky behaviours.
These games also prompt greater rebelliousness and sensation-seeking among adolescents.
Jay Hull of Dartmouth College, New Hampshire, who led the study, said: "Popular games that increase reckless driving may constitute even more of a public health issue than the widely touted association of video games and aggression."
Fifty percent of the teenagers reported in the first interview that their parents allowed them to play mature-rated games. Among them, 32 percent said they had played Spiderman II, 12 percent had played Manhunt and 58 percent had played Grand Theft Auto III.
Playing video games such as Grand Theft Auto III, Manhunt and Spiderman II was tied to sensation seeking, rebelliousness and self-reported risky driving, the study said.
"Most parents would probably be disturbed to learn that we observed that this type of game play was more strongly associated with teen drivers being pulled over by the police than their parenting practices," said Hull.
"With motor vehicle accidents the No.1 cause of adolescent deaths, popular games that increase reckless driving may constitute even more of a public health issue than the widely touted association of video games and aggression," Hull said.